Transitioning to a genuine data-driven culture may be one of the key success factors for today’s businesses. Yet, for many organizations, it still poses a challenge to establish and maintain. After all, it’s not just a matter of acquiring robust BI software, hiring the right talent, defining clear strategies, or even setting up trainings. It’s more than just gathering data or even consolidating it into an intelligent, secure data warehouse. A culture change requires the participation of all employees at every level and is only truly achieved when they have embraced data as an integral tool in the day-to-day operations of the company.
Shifting a culture —the assumed values and expectations under which people operate—of hundreds or thousands of employees is not an easy task. But pulling up stakes of legacy systems and traditional practices and transforming an enterprise into a data-driven operation provides huge benefits.
Being data-driven pays
Research consistently shows that fostering data-driven technologies pays off. MIT’s Sloan School of Management reports that organizations that emphasize decision-making based on data and business analytics (DDD) have 5-6% higher output and productivity than what their investments and information technology usage would be expected to produce alone. NucleusResearch claims that analytics pays back $13.01 for every dollar spent.
More than just output and productivity, data analytics results in a whole variety of improvements. According to BARC, a leading enterprise software industry analyst and consulting firm, as many as 84% of companies who have implemented BI have reported that they are making better business decisions, and 41% report increased revenue.
It’s not uncommon for organizations to experience resistance to adopting a data-driven mentality among employees, especially in the early stages of incorporating more data-sourced metrics into their business processes and strategies. Many are not technically knowledgeable and their confidence in unfamiliar, data-driven methodologies is slow to come by. The old paradigm of following gut instincts and relying on the “voices of experience” may have served many for years, but they are no longer the sharpest tools to use in today’s business climate. Obtaining new technology and hiring smart talent can certainly help get you started, but it will be of little value if you’re unable to transform a data-resistant culture.
Top tips for enterprise-wide transformation
What will propel an entire organization to adopt a data-driven culture? Acquiring advanced tools and hiring top analysts aren’t enough to guarantee the transformation of a data-resistant organization into one that trusts, seeks out, and relies on data-generated metrics and insights as a matter of course. What does it take to get everyone on board?
- Get executive buy-in
One of the most influential factors to transform an unwilling culture is executive buy-in and support. If the effort to be data-driven begins at the top, it proliferates throughout the organization. Once executives are on board with adopting a more data-driven approach to measuring success and making strategic business decisions, the culture begins.In other words, executive decision-makers need to be the first converts—recognizing that insights and opportunities presented from well-sourced and well-analyzed data can improve performance across the board, from operations and sales to risk exposure and customer loyalty. Unfortunately, there are still innumerable doubting executives who prefer to second-guess data analytics.
- Lead the way
Once converted, be sure to set the example from the top. Make access to data analysis and data visualization dashboards an ongoing and integrated part of executive activities to inform decisions, clarify positions, and monitor performance of operations. By doing so, you demonstrate that the data and its insights matter and are trustworthy. Then follow through: re-allocate budgets, modify production processes, or whatever you need to do to make good on the insights presented to you.
Spread the word by sharing performance insights and relevant trends, namely, by demonstrating the usefulness of data on an ongoing basis. Spend time and effort winning employees over on the power of the data. Use data to guide agendas for meetings. Then use dashboards to hone in on key issues, celebrate successes, compare metrics, and point out concerns that need to be discussed. Display key metrics in public areas so that data analytics becomes an expected part of the culture.
- Commit to the vision
Create a vision for the organization that clarifies why the change is happening and describes the beneficial impact it will have on employees’ daily jobs. Give them a better understanding of the value of data and how it serves them in decision-making. When employees understand and believe in the vision, they’re more likely to embrace it and less likely to fear that the technology will reduce their value on the job. Convey the message that the accuracy and clarity of data analytics ultimately helps everyone become more efficient at reaching their goals.Make it standard practice that ideas will backed up with data, and reports will include measuring outcomes. As a result, employees will begin to make a habit of seeking out data to help fine-tune their strategies and objectives.
- Provide access and ongoing training
While marketing and sales departments are usually the first to implement data analytics, all departments benefit from the cultural shift, including production, finance, controlling and human resources.Employees from all departments should be trained in data literacy and in the practice of interpreting raw data into knowledge and actionable insights. Over time, and with high quality and ongoing training, employees will incorporate the use of data analytics tools to raise the productivity and efficiency of their work. As they learn to use them well, it will become second nature for them to reach for data analytics routinely and effectively.
Change management can be a tough task for many organizations but for any enterprise that is committed to long-term success, a data-driven culture has become more of a requirement than a choice. The rewards of adopting data-driven methods begin to be obvious after awhile; with some initial, focused investment by decision-makers at the top, more and more stakeholders will willingly want to be a part of the change.
ClicData has the breadth of products, expertise and industry experience to design, build and implement a personalized solution for your business. Our cloud-based solution enables high-quality data visualization that demonstrates the real meaning and value of previously inaccessible business data. We can guide you smoothly through a successful culture change to a data-driven organization that adds value to your bottom line.